The Isle of Kheria

Written by Robert Cabot
Review by Nela Leja

Some readers may shy away from John Cabot’s choppy, cursory, incomplete writing style, but I recommend leaping onto its back. Ride unsaddled by conventional dialogue and creaking exposition! Gallop away, greedy for each lyrical phrase and evocative scene within its pages. See, smell, feel – no, revel in the exhilaration that is The Isle of Kheria – a tribute to a friendship spanning most of the twentieth century, from World War II and Vietnam to the seven-year Junta in Greece and the counterculture of the sixties and later. The friendship between staid Joel Brewster and flamboyant Aidan Allard, notable mostly for awkward reunions after long separations, begins in college. It ends with Joel visiting Aidan’s grave on a barren hillside surrounded by “dry stalks of asphodel – kheria, candles to the dead, the islanders say.” At the grave, Joel is visited by the shades of Aidan and the women they have known – mothers, wives, daughters – who bare their souls, bear witness to the secrets they withheld from each other, the opportunities they missed. A poignant touch: photos of the two tokens that symbolize Joel’s opposing loves serve as motifs to preface the three partitions of The Isle of Kheria. An enthralling read.